- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

D.C. officials said yesterday they will put about four times as many police officers on patrol in Adams Morgan during nightclub hours on weekends to stop the increasing number of assaults and thefts in the popular Northwest neighborhood.

Larry McCoy, commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 3rd District, said the number of officers will increase for the next several weeks from about five to 23 on weekends from 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Cmdr. McCoy said that, as of Tuesday, 18 additional officers were assigned to the area, which is home to some of the city’s most popular bars, nightclubs and restaurants. They will assist the five to eight officers who already patrol the neighborhood on most nights.

He said the officers have been pulled from other 3rd District beats and that the move still requires some changes in work schedules.

Police officials said they would have preferred to hire additional officers, but that would require legislation from the D.C. Council to allow them to spend more money.

Residents and business owners began asking for a stronger police presence after a recent series of violent crimes — including a Dec. 10 incident in which a man went into a coma for nine days after he was punched in the face and then hit his head on the pavement.

Early Saturday morning, another man went into a coma after he was pushed and hit his head while trying to help a woman who was in an argument with another man. Police declined to release the names of the people involved.

Most of the problems come after closing time, when rowdy crowds spill into the streets. There also are concerns about criminals coming into the neighborhood after hours to prey on the intoxicated, vulnerable crowd.

Council member Jim Graham, a Ward 1 Democrat, said Adams Morgan is “entitled to a much higher police deployment” because thousands of people go there every weekend and want to have “a safe visit, a happy visit.”

“That’s not going to happen with a thin blue line,” he said. “It’s only going to happen if we have a significant police presence.”

Cmdr. McCoy said five assaults have been reported in the Adams Morgan area in the past 30 days, compared with two during the same period last year. There have been 10 robberies during the period, the same as last year.

The numbers of robberies and assaults declined last month after steadily increasing throughout the fall. The decrease has been attributed to increased patrols that came when police Chief Charles H. Ramsey declared a crime emergency last month. That initiative has since ended.

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